Disaster team recruiting

New Zealand Red Cross team members practise their life-saving skills. More volunteers are needed for the NZ Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Team in Queenstown. Photos supplied.
New Zealand Red Cross team members practise their life-saving skills. More volunteers are needed for the NZ Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Team in Queenstown. Photos supplied.
Commitment, reliability, team spirit and a sense of humour are among the qualities volunteers must have to join the New Zealand Red Cross and help at the front line in the event of an emergency.

The NZ Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Team in Queenstown is calling for new recruits to bolster its core membership of eight volunteers.

Members from the Queenstown, Gore and Invercargill teams, backed by the only dedicated NZ Red Cross ''welfare centre on wheels'' truck in the South Island so far, will run their recruitment campaign at the Lake Hayes Agricultural and Pastoral Show tomorrow and take part in the grand parade at noon.

Queenstown response team leader Fi Sawers said yesterday the team's ranks had fluctuated over the past 18 months because of the transient nature of the population and the new year was the ideal time to attract new members.

Disaster Welfare Support Team members from the Wakatipu have a range of backgrounds, from firefighting and aviation, to fundraising and youth work, but all are trained in welfare, outreach, first aid, casualty handling and relief distribution.

Volunteers must be able to swing into action regardless of the time or the day and be on a roster for deployment where necessary. They should be willing to travel throughout New Zealand in response to emergency events or training, be prepared for deployments for up to six days, with a possible extension for major events, and commit to the position for 12 months.

Volunteers agree to operate under adverse working conditions, occasionally walking and standing for periods of up to 10 hours. They are expected to keep moderately physically fit and undertake a Ministry of Justice or police check.

Look out for the NZ Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Unit at the Lake Hayes A&P Show tomorrow. The truck carries 140 stretchers, foam mats and pillows, 280 fleece blankets, four cots, hygiene kits, lighting kits, welfare reception kits, five VHF GP360 radios and basic catering.
Look out for the NZ Red Cross Disaster Welfare Support Unit at the Lake Hayes A&P Show tomorrow. The truck carries 140 stretchers, foam mats and pillows, 280 fleece blankets, four cots, hygiene kits, lighting kits, welfare reception kits, five VHF GP360 radios and basic catering.
Disaster Welfare Support Team members from Queenstown responded immediately to the earthquakes in Christchurch, helping quake-hit citizens in the aftermath of the February 22, 2011, catastrophe.

''We did a variety of service in those three very long days until fresh volunteers could come in,'' Ms Sawers said.

''Activities included setting up welfare centres, transporting goods and information between welfare centres across the city and we did door-to-door work with EQ inspectors.

''Red Cross workers were involved in ground level rescue, restoring community links and two of our team members - myself and Rhea McLean - returned for a second rotation and that involved community links work and water distribution.''

People interested in volunteering can attend an information presentation and induction in the NZ Red Cross Service Centre, Level 2, Dart House, Remarkables Park Town Centre, on February 5, from 7pm to 8pm.


Lake Hayes A&P Show
Lake Hayes Showgrounds, Saturday, January 12.

8.15am: Judging begins for horse and pony classes in the main ring.
9am: Sideshows crank up. Judging begins for sheep and wool classes. Craft stalls and trade sites ready
9.30am: Machinery and traction engine on display. Plunket Mothers' Room opens. Gift lamb judging begins.
10am: Shearing display and competition. Home industries in the pavilion open for viewing.
10.30am: Registration of pets and lifestyle animals near Petting Zoo. Small pony fancy dress. Magician Jonathan Usher entertains.
11am: Judging of supreme horse, pony and rider. The Wonky Donkey Man entertains. Pets and lifestyle animals judging begins.
11.30am: Shearing display and competition. Pipe band performs on the front lawn. Face-painting on offer.
Noon: Grand Parade and show official opening.
1pm: Dog trial finalists compete in main ring. ''Pinnies in the Paddock'' contestants to meet at main stage.
1.30pm: Shearing display and competition. The Wonky Donkey Man entertains.
2pm: Harcourts Two Fence Challenge competition (premier show jumping). Jonathan Usher the Magician entertains.
2.30pm: The Wonky Donkey Man entertains. Show jumping continues in the main ring all afternoon.
3pm: Prizegiving for home industries section on main stage. Sheep and hay-bale guessing announced. Jonathan Usher the Magician entertains.
4pm: Children's lolly scramble. Home industry exhibits can be collected from the pavilion.